[geo-discuss] Responding to the consultation on opening Ordnance Survey's data

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Sun Jan 24 23:09:37 UTC 2010

Jo Walsh wrote:
> "Aerial imagery is accessible innovation." - I have not really seen this
> covered elsewhere - the value of imagery with no restrictions on re-use,
> in surveying and software development. A good point.
> I am curious why "broadly speaking" you support Option 3, staged and
> partial release of critical products now, rather than access to raw data
> at largest scale (e.g. MasterMap).

Well, one word, I guess: realpolitik.

 From the day-job I know - sadly - how hard it is to get Government 
funding for anything that isn't schools, hospitals or the military. 
British Waterways has canals that are falling down hillsides and 
collapsing into fields right now, and they can't get any extra funding 
to repair them. Even when extra funding is forthcoming (which it was in 
the case of BW ten years ago), it doesn't last. I wish it weren't the case.

So Option 3 is more sustainable, I think. It involves very little extra 
subsidy on DCLG's part and gets us 90% of what we need. The OS 
"business" of selling large-scale data to companies that can afford to 
pay for it remains intact, so they don't need sustained funding from DCLG.

As you've spotted, if we can squeak in an additional "ask" over and 
above their default option, I'd like it to be derivation from aerial 
photography. Again, this costs OS next to nothing, so there's very 
little reason for DCLG to refuse it. I guess all they'd need to do is 
generate a new layer for OpenSpace...!


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